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Objects on the Move: From the Kunstkammer into the Museum

Gallery of Old Masters

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© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum Europäischer Kulturen / Ute Franz-Scarciglia

From the 16th to the 19th centuries, the Kunstkammer in Berlin assembled objects from the most diverse fields of knowledge. This chamber of art and curiosities paved the way for the museum collections in Berlin. Objects from the Kunstkammer are now in nearly all of the Collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. The exhibition intervention “Objects on the Move: From the Kunstkammer into the Museum” presents selected objects from the Kunstkammer together with their histories and information on their allocation within the collections at the Kulturforum and on the Museumsinsel Berlin (Museum Island), with additional stations at the Bode-Museum, Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Paintings), Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) and the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Museum of the Ancient Near East).

The Kunstkammer, once located at the Berlin Palace, was the origin of Berlin’s museum landscape. Its collection, which existed from the 16th until far into the 19th century, brought together objects from nature, art and science. Little by little during the 19th century, the objects entered into the newly-founded Berlin museums, where they were allocated to various collections over time. Today, objects from the Kunstkammer can be found in almost all of the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, even in places where you would not expect them.

Currently, the background histories of the Kunstkammer objects, their changing interpretations and routes into the museums are being explored by the DFG project “A Window onto Nature and Art”. The project is a collaboration between the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. It addresses questions of interpretation associated with the objects on their reallocation to the new collections, providing new insights into the history of the Kunstkammer and the formation of the museums.

In the exhibition intervention “Objects on the Move: From the Kunstkammer into the Museum”, objects from the Ethnologisches Museum, Kunstbibliothek (Art Library), Museum Europäischer Kulturen (Museum of European Cultures), Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum for Islamic Art) and the Vorderasiatisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin are presented in surprising constellations at the Kulturforum and on the Museumsinsel. The exhibition traces their routes through the collections and explores related transcultural aspects.

The exhibition was conceived by Eva Dolezel (DFG Project: “A Window onto Nature and Art”) and Catalina Heroven (Project: “WEITWINKEL ‒ Global Perspectives on Collections”). 

An exhibition intervention by “WEITWINKEL ‒ Global Perspectives on Collections”

The series “WEITWINKEL Global Perspectives on Collections” deals with transcultural topics and socially relevant issues ensuing from exhibitions, research projects and collaborations involving the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

Gallery of Old Masters
Matthäikirchplatz 4
10785 Berlin

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Museum of Ancient Near East

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Gemäldegalerie

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Kunstgewerbemuseum

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Tuesday - Friday
10:00 - 18:00
Saturday - Sunday
11:00 - 18:00
1. May
11:00 - 18:00
Admission price
10,00 €
Reduced price
5,00 €

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